Nehemiah 9:32 – 10:39

The general tone of American commitment to Christianity could be described as
trivial, blas?, casual, and shallow at best. Today, Christianity seems to be
less a matter of commitment and more a matter of convenience.

People will commit themselves to monthly payments of $300-$400 for a new
vehicle stretching over 5 years. But, when it comes Christianity, the average
American could be identified as “Mr. or Mrs. Uncommitted.” Most Americans are
like those the prophet Elijah challenged when he said, “How long halt ye between
two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And
the people answered him NOT A WORD” (1 Kings 18:21). They refused to commit
themselves one way or the other.

COMMITMENT (Webster- 1828): 1. The act of committing [Delivered in trust;
given in charge; deposited]; a putting into prison; imprisonment. 2. The act of
pledging or engaging. And with the reciprocal pronoun, to commit ones self, is
to do some act, or make some declaration, which may bind the person in honor,
good faith, or consistency, to pursue a certain course of conduct, or to adhere
to the tenor of that declaration.

We would say a committed person is one who is “sold-out;” “dedicated;”
“devoted;” “loyal;” “going all-out, full tilt, full blast, whole hog, to the
max, on all cylinders;” “for all one is worth.” “Glory-bound with the hammer
down.”

The following true story illustrates REAL COMMITMENT: During the
confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia in 1964 a group of Gurkhas from
Nepal were asked if they would be willing to jump from transport planes into
combat if the need arose. The Gurkhas had the right to turn down the request
because they had never been trained as paratroopers.

The Gurkhas usually agreed to anything, but on this occasion they rejected
the plan. However, the next day they sought out the British officer who made the
request and said they had reconsidered and were prepared to jump under the
following conditions: The ground was marshy or reasonably soft with no rocky
outcrops and they wanted the plane to fly slowly as possible at no more that 100
feet high.

The British officer assured the Gurkhas that all these conditions could be
met except one. To jump from only 100 was impossible, because the parachutes
would not open in time from that height.

Then the Gurkhas said, “Oh, will we be wearing parachutes? You didn’t mention
parachutes before. In that case we’ll jump anywhere with parachutes!” Not many
people today fit that description when it comes to the Church of Jesus Christ.

  • It’s a cryin’ shame when Mormons and J.W’s are more committed to leading
    people into error than Christians are to winning souls to the truth.
  • It’s a cryin’ shame when Mircosoft is more committed to it’s product
    than Christian’s are to the Word of God.
  • It’s a cryin’ shame when Democrats and Republicans are more committed to
    their agenda that Christians are to God’s agenda!
  • It’s a cryin’ shame when the homosexual crowd and the abortion crowd are
    more committed to their cause than Christians are to the cause of Christ.
  • It’s a cryin’ shame when Hollywood is more committed to getting people
    in the movie house than Christians are to getting people into God’s house!
  • It’s a cryin’ shame when people spend more money on liquor and tobacco
    than Christians do in sending out missionaries.

The background of our text is the confession of the Jews over their lack of
commitment to the Lord that resulted in their captivity. They conclude by making
a commitment to prevent that from happening again. It was a written commitment
and was signed by those who made it (10:1-28). It is a pattern of the kind of
commitment we need in the church today.

I. Commitment to Scriptural FIDELITY (10:29). Committed to do what the Bible
says. We must have a pre-disposition to submit to it’s demands.

  1. We must concede to the Bible’s authority.
  2. We must be convinced of it’s answers. The Bible works.
    The date: February 15, 1921. The place: The operating room of the Kane
    Summit Hospital in New York City. Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane is performing an
    appendectomy. There were two things that made this operation unique. First,
    was the use of local anesthesia in major surgery. Dr. Kane is a crusader
    against the hazards of general anesthesia. He contends that a local
    application is far safer. Many of his colleagues agree with him in
    principle, but in order for them to agree in practice, they will have to see
    the theory applied. Dr. Kane searches for a volunteer, a patient who is
    willing to undergo surgery while under local anesthesia. A volunteer is not
    easily found. Many are squeamish at the thought of being awake during their
    own surgery. Others are fearful that the anesthesia might wear off too soon.
    Eventually, a candidate volunteers. The patient is prepped and wheeled into
    the operating room. The local anesthetic is applied. As he has done
    thousands of times, Dr. Kane dissects the superficial tissues and locates
    the appendix. He skillfully removes it and concludes the surgery. During the
    procedure, the patient complains of only minor discomfort. Dr. Kane had
    proven his theory. Thanks to the willingness of a brave volunteer, Kane
    demonstrated that local anesthesia was a viable, and even preferable,
    alternative. But I said there were two facts that made the surgery unique.
    First: the use of local anesthesia. Second is the patient– Dr. Kane
    performed the surgery on HIMSELF! To prove his point, Dr. Kane removed his
    own appendix! That is commitment! The doctor became a patient in order to
    convince the patients to trust the doctor. If people do not see a commitment
    to the authority of the Bible in your own life, why should they believe what
    you say about it?

II. Commitment to a Separated FAMILY (10:30).

  1. Involves separation– Commitment to the family unit means
    separation from whatever would threaten that unit. We must commit everything
    to God, and leave nothing for Satan to use against our family. This parable
    illustrates our need for total commitment to Christ: A certain man wanted to
    sell his house for $10,000. Another man wanted to buy it, but because he was
    poor, he couldn’t afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner
    agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one
    stipulation: he would retain ownership of one nail protruding from just over
    the door. After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but
    the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the
    carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon
    the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to
    the owner of the nail. The conclusion: If we leave the Devil with even one
    small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it,
    making it a stench instead of a blessing.
  2. It involves education. We must teach our family.
  3. It involves conviction. Conviction that divorce is not an
    option.

III. Commitment to Sanctified FINANCES (10:32, 37, 38).

IV. Commitment to Serving FAITHFULLY (10:39 cf. Heb. 10:25)

  1. Do not forsake it in prayer.
  2. Do not forsake it in promotion.
  3. Do not forsake it in participation.

CONCLUSION: Will you make the following commitments:

  1. I will make the Bible the final authority in my life. You need
    to read it!
  2. I will raise my children for Jesus Christ.
  3. I will never seek a divorce from my spouse.
  4. I will give God at least a tithe and offering of all He gives
    to me.
  5. I will attend all church services unless providentially
    hindered.
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